Australia's white wine scene is a hotbed of quality, and very much on the up. The country's foremost wine communicator, Huon Hooke surveys new and established wineries, large and small, to name his top estates. As published in the Decanter July 2012 issue.
Margaret River, Western Australia
Cullen (pictured) and Vasse Felix are an interesting Margaret River pair that invite comparisons. Both are at the top of their game, run by highly talented women and produce remarkably similar product ranges. Vasse Felix is owned by one of Australia’s top business families, the Holmes à Courts, and of late the winery has been streamlined and refocused. Chief winemaker Virginia Willcock’s powerful but elegant, complex yet clean Heytesbury Chardonnay has had a stunning run of success in wine competitions, taking out several top white wine of show awards, but the very affordable Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon has also been cleaning up the trophies. Meanwhile, the regular Vasse Chardonnay is hard to beat for value in an everyday drinking package. The Classic Dry White (Semillon- Sauvignon Blanc) is also smart stuff at a nice price. Most of the grapes come from the estate vineyards in Wilyabrup.
Vasse Felix, Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon 2010
Sauvignon Blanc-led aromas of tangy herbs, salad greens and lime juice. Tropical and minerally, with a hint of oak lending an extra boost. Delicate but intense, with abundant refined fruit, the merest tinge of sweetness adding juiciness. 18.5pts/20
Price: £11.99–£13.50 Morrison’s, Slurp